8 summer travel tips to save you money on your next vacation

Summer vacation is on my mind and I'll bet it's on yours, too. I actually have been thinking about it a lot for months now, since it's been awhile since my wife and I have traveled on a "real" vacation. I have always touted myself as a pretty good travel planner, a skill that I have mastered from personal travel planning experience. So I have put together a short list of 8 travel tips I know for a fact will definitely save you money if you are up for a vacation this year. These tips are not only good for the summer travel period, but are year-round bonafide winners that really only require a bit of awareness and a little planning effort. I think that's worth saving some big bucks and I think you will as well!

While there's staycations and weekend getaways and road trips, today I'm focusing on your typical week-long family vacation. Trips like these often involve airfare, hotel, car rental, and food plus entertainment costs as well.

Travel Tips to Save You Money

1. All–Inclusive Vacations

You're probably thinking that doing an all-inclusive vacay (that's a vacation that includes both your room and food and drink) is just way too expensive, but you would be wrong in almost every case. While it's true that some of the world's great and expensive resorts have an extensive and expensive AI policy, there are many that are very nice and very affordable. All you need is to consider a number of options that can save you money every time.

If you are traveling with your kids they may actually be free at an AI resort. Under age 4 it's almost always the case, but even older kids (up to age 12) are sometimes free or at the very least half price. Food and drinks can be the most expensive part of your travel away from home when purchased separately so having them included in an AI package is a big budget saver.

In many cases AI plans also include some transportation costs especially in places like island beach resorts where you are at a distance from the airport or the downtown shopping area. If the resorts are offering free shuttle services to AI customers you can save on the need for a car rental. Check in advance online and see what your choices are for dining where and when you are going and you may be surprised about what you may save with all-inclusive. Car rentals can run as much as $200-$300 even for a small car. Transportation to and from the airport on your own can tack on another $50 per person.

One note of caution: make sure you are aware of exactly what is and what isn't included in any AI offerings before you book it. Ask questions in advance if you are in any way unsure about the details.

2. The Off-Peak Travel Season

Like the old expression "it's 5 o'clock somewhere", that phrase also applies to peak and off-peak travel as it's always off-peak season somewhere! Traveling off-peak doesn't mean you try and go skiing in in Colorado in July either! But, traveling and saving money going OP is a real money saver.

For example, travel to Europe is off-peak from November through March while travel to the Caribbean is off-peak from March through August. You can save over 50% on hotel, food, and travel options during those times. Even changing your trip by as little as one week can save you hundreds or even thousands on your trip! Being flexible in choosing your travel dates is key to big savings so look at those details if you want to save. Even if you don't want to go totally off-peak, look into shoulder season which is that transition time between peak and off-peak.

3. Car Rentals

The first question to ask yourself is this: "Do I really need a car on my vacation?" That answer will depend on where you are traveling, when you are traveling, and what you want to do when you get there.

If you are getting away just to relax and sit in the sun, you may not need a car at all. See if your hotel offers free transportation to and from the airport and/or if there are such services publicly available at a low cost. I always check online specifically at the location I plan to travel in to find out what options are available and it's pretty easy to do. The place you stay at may have ways of supplying free or discounted local transportation to shopping and dining or you may be able to access public transportation by simply walking to a bus stop. If you're located in a hotel zone, you may even find that you can easily walk to other venues for dining, gaming, and entertainment.

There may be less expensive alternatives to a car rental such as bike rentals or motor bikes. More often than not, a car I have rented solely for use on a vacation sat quietly in the parking area while I was at the pool or lay out on the beach. It costs as much as several hundred dollars a week to have that privilege so think twice about that expense before you commit. You can always decide at your destination to rent for just a day or two instead of your full stay, or even take a taxi, so you can still explore away from your hotel.

Be aware that renting a car for a whole week is less money per day than renting based on the daily rate. You may find that renting for 5 days costs as much or more than renting for 7 days. If that's true, just rent for the week and turn the car in early and pay the weekly rate to save.

Rental add-ons are expensive. My advice is that when renting you should avoid all of the extras like GPS or extra insurance coverages and things like gas refueling fees which you can do yourself. Your credit card should offer extra insurances and please don't be lazy about it. Check and see what it will cover before you rent. It may mean dollars in your pocket!

One further tip I swear by is this: reserve a smaller car for your trip if you can. First, they are always cheaper. Even more important is that since they are the most popular cars rented, they often are out of them when you go to pick yours up. If you have to wait more than a few minutes for your car, ask for a free upgrade! You will find that you will be given a nicer, roomier car that way and you'll still only be paying the cheapo price. Worst case scenario, you get exactly what you ordered and you'll save anyway.

4. Free Upgrades

You can get some incredible upgrades if you just ask. One way to do it is when you are flying, ask about an upgrade at the gate when you are celebrating something like an anniversary or birthday trip. Airlines are willing to upgrade you if they have the room in first class as a courtesy, but only if you ask. It's best to do it when you are standing right in front of them at the counter and not on a phone or via an internet message. That's when they will respond positively most often.

Upgrades for special occasions like the ones above also apply to restaurants and hotels. In many cases it can mean free drinks, a bottle of champagne or a vase of flowers in your room at no extra charge. You can ask at the venue what they can do to help you celebrate or surprise someone and make it extra special. In many cases, you will get that kind of upgrade pretty easily by simply asking.

5. Compare Online

Checking the net is a huge way to save money on your summer—or any—vacation. Websites like Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Priceline, and Kayak will do everything from finding you the best deals on air, hotel, and cars to supplying specific venue information and free reservations. You probably already know that these places work well, but they are just a few of the many available, and more are coming all the time. When you have enough lead time for your travel, spend a few hours scanning the best deals and reading real customer reviews online before you reserve. It gives you a much better idea of what you can expect.

6. Pack Right

One of the most annoying things that can happen to you is to find out that you will have to pay extra on you baggage when you are checking in at the airport. How are you going to avoid that? Here are a few tips that have worked for me:

  • Pack lighter than you think you may need. We all seem to overpack for our trips. Worst case scenario you will get something cleaned for a few dollars if you need it twice while away and that's cheaper than an overweight charge or extra bag fee.
  • Weigh your bags at home to see if they comply with the rules of your airline.
  • Try "wearing" your luggage in the form of a backpack for some essentials that you can carry onboard for free. There are even wearable vest-luggage items now sold online to help reduce the traditional luggage you have carried in the past.
  • If you plan to buy souvenirs or gifts at your destination, don't forget to leave room to bring them home. Consider shipping heavy items.

7. Travel Date Flexibility

When you can, try scheduling your flights, hotel stays, and car rentals on the less travelled days of the week. That's generally Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. But the best way to take advantage of your flexibility is to select the flexible dates option on your travel site so you can find the least expensive choices. Or try a site like Fareness which is based on date flexibility.

There are also other "tricks" you can use to get a low-priced deal. Remember to book your airfare at least 21 days in advance unless you're taking advantage of a last-minute deal.

You already know that when the plane is overbooked (which most of them are these days) you may get an offer of compensation to get off and take a later flight. If you are not bound by time or a connecting flight, consider it. Why not get a free ticket for a future flight or cash considerations of hundreds of dollars if you can?

8. Alternative Airports

If you are fortunate enough to have choices in your airport departure and arrival sites, check them out online. Because there are usually some differences in those airfares, check out your options. Here in New Jersey, we can fly from Newark, Trenton, or Atlantic City, or from NYC at LaGuardia or JFK. There are even the choices of Allentown PA and Westchester NY that are also close enough to make the air savings worth it. Sometimes it's worth a few hours' drive to get a significantly better airfare.

You may not have as many as we have here in the NYC metro area, but you probably have some choice when you consider smaller airports. Check it out to save.

Do you take a vacation each summer? Have you made any plans yet for this year? What have you done in the past to save the most on your vacation and what can you tell us about your best travel tips to save money?

The post 8 Summer Travel Tips I Know Will Save You Money appeared first on Super Saving Tips.

RELATED: Don't forget to save your cash on these everyday items!

51 PHOTOS
50 everyday expenses you need to stop spending money on
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50 everyday expenses you need to stop spending money on
ATM fees

"Take a bit of extra time to withdraw money from your bank's ATM and save on the cost to withdraw your own cash or if your bank has a mobile app, use it to find an in-network ATM near you."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Lottery tickets

"According to the Powerball, the odds hitting the jackpot are 1 in 292,201,338.00, and CNN cites that Americans spent $70.15 billion in 2014. Let's save our hard-earned money."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Coffee

"A daily cup of joe adds up if you purchase it at places like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. Save by brewing at home."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Credit card interest

"Maintaining a balance on your card usually you to pay interest each month. Try to pay off your credit card balance in full each month or send more than the minimum payment. As always, use your credit cards responsibly."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Kids meals when dining out

"When you do dine out and if you have kids with you, be sure to take advantage of 'kids eat free' specials. Most restaurants have specific days of the week when they offer free kids meals."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Gas station food and snacks

"Although it may be convenient, prices are always marked up when compared to other stores. So take the time to shop for food in advance at your grocery store and pack emergency snacks in your car."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Pumping premium gas

"Some vehicles may not require premium gas, which is the most costly of the gasoline grades. Stop trying to be fancy, check the owner's manual, and save."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Banking fees

"Don't pay to manage your money at a bank. Find banks that offer free banking or bank online for free like CapitalOne 360. Earn $25 when you open a free checking or high-yield savings account."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Change-counting machines

"Many of us like to keep our loose change in a jar and let it collect over time. Once it's full, don't pay machines to count it for you, go to your bank to deposit your savings or have it exchange for cash."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Wasting gas due to low tire pressure

"You may not know this, but having low tire pressure affects your mileage significantly. Save gas and money by improving your gas mileage by simply checking your tire pressure and maintaining it at the proper level."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Single car washing

"Many car wash places offer a flat monthly rate for unlimited washes, so check with your local car wash to find out if they offer a monthly rate and cash in on a clean car. Or, you can get a discount when you pump your gas."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Bottled water

"Unless you live in an area where potable water isn't safe, don't waste your money on bottled water. Often times, it's simply bottled tap water. Buy a reusable water bottle or invest in a quality water filter, and save (plus you'll reduce plastic waste)."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Cigarettes

"It's a tough addiction to beat, but it is a very expensive to purchase cigarettes daily. Aside from causing deadly health effects, according to Time, smoking can cost you $1 to $2 million in a lifetime. Make an effort to better your health and wallet."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Gift bags and wrapping

"Reuse bags from previous occasions if they are still in good condition. We started doing this last year and no longer have to run out and by $3+ gift bags when we go to events or parties."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Plastic bags fees

"For those living in an area where stores charge for plastic bags (*cough cough Chicago*), bring your own reusable one. Those cents add up!"

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Utility bill payment fees

"Skip the line at the currency exchange or grocery store and pay online using checking account or debit card. Some companies charge to use a debit card, so schedule e-check payment, which is typically free."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Travel size toiletries

"For the frequent traveler, you should buy empty travel containers and refill with shampoo, lotion, etc. as needed."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Paper

"Unless you're a student, you probably don't really need to buy a lot of paper – reuse already printed pages and use both sides."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Magazine and newspaper subscriptions

"Save money and paper by keeping up with free online news services."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Paying for premium streaming music services

"In the digital age of music, don't pay for premium services. Streaming companies like SoundCloud and Spotify allow you to listen to music for free."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Buying books

"If you'd like to truly own a book, then save on the paper and extra cost by purchasing the digital version, or go to your local library and check them out for free."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Library late fees

"Remember to return all materials on time. It'll save you money and allow for other library patrons to enjoy the material in a timely manner. If you do have library fees, wait for a month when they accept canned goods as a payment method (usually around the holidays)." 

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Brand new video games

"Skip the early release and commotion of having the latest video game. Save major bucks by purchasing a used version of the game online or at stores like Game Stop."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

In-app purchases

"Gaming apps are meant to entertain, and while most of them are free, don't fall for the "purchase bonus lives" trap. In-game purchases add up."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Greeting cards

"Take some time to make your own personal cards or send an eCard and skip on the expense."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

New phone chargers

"If you forget your charger and your phone needs to be charged, some time you'll be inclined to purchase a new one, but it can be costly or even poor quality. Always keep your charger handy, look for a charging station where you're at, or simply ask to borrow one."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Expiration dates

"Sometimes, expiration dates may not reflect the true shelf life of a product. Don't waste food (and money) by throwing out a product which may still be fine to consume. Check out Eat By Date and see for yourself the true shelf life of your groceries."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Stuff on your birthday

"When you're heading out and can't or don't want to drive, consider calling Uber or Lyft instead of calling a cab so you can save money on the ride. You can use my linkto get $20 off your first Uber ride."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Batteries

"Save on disposable batteries and purchase rechargeable ones. They can last up to two to three years."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Pens

"Many offices, banks, insurance companies, etc, give them away for free. Save them and skip on the purchase."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Insurance

"Be sure to get the best rate for your individual needs, whether it is car, health, home or life insurance."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Garbage bags

"If your area doesn't charge for using plastic bags, reuse the ones you get from shopping as garbage bags. I do this all the time."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

More house than you need

"While some families "grow into" their homes, sometimes less is more. Save on mortgage and the possibility of purchasing more for a larger home. Downsize and save."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Club/bar full cover charges

"While having a spontaneous night out is fun, if you RSVP when possible, arrive early, or take advantage of online ticket sales, you can skip out on paying in full at your favorite nightlife places."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Leaky faucets

"If you pay for water utility bill, according to the EPA, fixing leaky faucets saves you 10% on your bill. By ignoring it, you not only lose money every day it goes unfixed, but you also waste clean water, at a rate of 10,000 gallons per year."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Fast food restaurants

"Improve your health and wallet by not eating fast food often. It may be cheap, but it adds up, especially if you eat out a few times per week. Instead, spend the money and the time to grocery shop and prepare meals."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Cool drafts

"Save on heating and electric bills by fixing drafts and keep the warmth and cool in your home during the winter and summer."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Unnecessary data phone plans

"Unless you need unlimited data for work, you should not spend much on your cell phone bill. I save a ton of money on my cell phone bill by using Republic Wireless."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Pet food

"You may not be able to cut out this expense completely if you have pets, but you can score free cans of pet food with coupons occasionally so you won't have to spend as much."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Buying lunch

"Sometimes you're running late for work and don't have time to pack a lunch. Buying lunch often costs much more than preparing and bring a meal to work. Spend some time planning, purchasing and preparing meals ahead of time so they're ready to go, even when you're in a hurry."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Leaving electronics plugged in

"Even though you may not use them often, electronics that are plugged in still consume energy. Unplug appliances you don't you often and keep other electronics on a power strip, turning them off when not in use."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Prepared grocery store meals

"When you do go grocery shopping, sometimes the already-prepped sub or diced fruits and veggies tempt you to buy them and save time, but you'll be paying top dollar for those products. Plan a list ahead of time and buy the individual food items, then spend the time prepping them yourself in order to save.

If you have trouble making grocery lists and figuring out what you're going to eat each day, I'd highly recommend trying out the $5 Meal Plan so you can receive healthy meal plans and recipes to your inbox."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Vending machine snacks

"Not only are these snacks typically unhealthy (there goes your healthy habit), they are typically much more expensive than their grocery store counterparts. If you find yourself buying vending machine snacks, try to save the money instead and see how much you have leftover at the end of the month. You can probably invest it."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Transportation

"When you're heading out and can't or don't want to drive, consider calling Uber or Lyft instead of calling a cab so you can save money on the ride. You can use my link to get $20 off your first Uber ride."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Brand name items

"Save money by skipping on the brand names, like medicine, toiletries, and certain foods. Remember that healthier options with fewer additives may cost more and in that case they may be worth it. Otherwise, generic is the way to go."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Buying smaller/single packs

"Save money by skipping on the brand names, like medicine, toiletries, and certain foods. Remember that healthier options with fewer additives may cost more and in that case they may be worth it. Otherwise, generic is the way to go."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Purchasing paper towels/paper napkins

"You are purchasing these to eventually throw them out. Save on the waste and save money by buying reusable, washable towels and napkins. Your wallet and the environment will thank you."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Paying extra for night time movie showings

"Primetime showings are typically 2x higher than those during the day. Go to morning matinees or take advantage of weekly specials ($5 movie nights during the week)."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Movie theater food

"Often times, movie theater food can cost more than the ticket to get in. Try to keep food purchases to a minimum when you can or eat a filling meal before you go see a movie."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

DVDs and On Demand

"Instead of spending money on purchasing the movie, subscribe to streaming services and find an alternative or go to your local library."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

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